Palliative radiotherapy indications during the COVID-19 pandemic and in future complex logistic settings: the NORMALITY model

Francesco Cellini, Francesco Deodato, Maria Antonietta Gambacorta, Vincenzo Valentini, Stefania Manfrida, Alessio Giuseppe Morganti, Vincenzo Fusco, Sara Reina, Rossella Di Franco, Valentina Borzillo, Ernesto Maranzano, Stefano Pergolizzi, Mario Santarelli, Fabio Arcidiacono, Romina Rossi, Anna Merlotti, Barbara Alicja Jereczek-Fossa, Angelo Tozzi, Giambattista Siepe, Alberto CacciolaElvio Russi, Marta Scorsetti, Umberto Ricardi, Renzo Corvò, Vittorio Donato, Paolo Muto

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged healthcare systems worldwide over the last few months, and it continues to do so. Although some restrictions are being removed, it is not certain when the pandemic is going to be definitively over. Pandemics can be seen as a highly complex logistic scenario. From this perspective, some of the indications provided for palliative radiotherapy (PRT) during the COVID-19 pandemic could be maintained in the future in settings that limit the possibility of patients achieving symptom relief by radiotherapy. This paper has two aims: (1) to provide a summary of the indications for PRT during the COVID-19 pandemic; since some indications can differ slightly, and to avoid any possible contradictions, an expert panel composed of the Italian Association of Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology (AIRO) and the Palliative Care and Supportive Therapies Working Group (AIRO-palliative) voted by consensus on the summary; (2) to introduce a clinical care model for PRT [endorsed by AIRO and by a spontaneous Italian collaborative network for PRT named “La Rete del Sollievo” (“The Net of Relief”)]. The proposed model, denoted “No cOmpRoMise on quality of life by pALliative radiotherapy” (NORMALITY), is based on an AIRO-palliative consensus-based list of clinical indications for PRT and on practical suggestions regarding the management of patients potentially suitable for PRT but dealing with highly complex logistics scenarios (similar to the ongoing logistics limits due to COVID-19). Material and Methods: First, a summary of the available literature guidelines for PRT published during the COVID-19 pandemic was prepared. A systematic literature search based on the PRISMA approach was performed to retrieve the available literature reporting guideline indications fully or partially focused on PRT. Tables reporting each addressed clinical presentation and respective literature indications were prepared and distributed into two main groups: palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies. These summaries were voted in by consensus by selected members of the AIRO and AIRO-palliative panels. Second, based on the summary for palliative indications during the COVID-19 pandemic, a clinical care model to facilitate recruitment and delivery of PRT to patients in complex logistic scenarios was proposed. The summary tables were critically integrated and shuffled according to clinical presentations and then voted on in a second consensus round. Along with the adapted guideline indications, some methods of performing the first triage of patients and facilitating a teleconsultation preliminary to the first in-person visit were developed. Results: After the revision of 161 documents, 13 papers were selected for analysis. From the papers, 19 clinical presentation items were collected; in total, 61 question items were extracted and voted on (i.e., for each presentation, more than one indication was provided from the literature). Two tables summarizing the PRT indications during the COVID-19 pandemic available from the literature (PRT COVID-19 summary tables) were developed: palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies. The consensus of the vote by the AIRO panel for the PRT COVID-19 summary was reached. The PRT COVID-19 summary tables for palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies were adapted for clinical presentations possibly associated with patients in complex clinical scenarios other than the COVID-19 pandemic. The two new indication tables (i.e., “Normality model of PRT indications”) for both palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies were voted on in a second consensus round. The consensus rate was reached and strong. Written forms facilitating two levels of teleconsultation (triage and remote visits) were also developed, both in English and in Italian, to evaluate the patients for possible indications for PRT before scheduling cli
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1619-1656
Numero di pagine38
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Clinical Care Model
  • Clinical Indication
  • Consensus
  • Guidelines
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Neoplasms
  • Palliation
  • Palliative Care
  • Palliative Radiotherapy
  • Pandemics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • QoL
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Societies, Medical


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